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Suspension & Braking Forum by BimmerWorld
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Old 12-17-2014, 07:41 AM   #1
John949
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: London UK
Posts: 40
My Ride: E330 CI
Pirate Ship Creaking Cured!

I'll give more detail later, but if you want the headlines, it was the top strut mounting rubbing on the spring retainer. Possibly because the aftermarket strut bearing is incorrectly designed / not the right part for an E46.

The following two pictures show the evidence of wear / rubbing on the strut bearing & spring retainer.

[IMG][/IMG]

[IMG][/IMG]

The third pitcure shows the radically different profile of the old and new strut mounts (new on the right). Anyone know if this is a case of shoddy aftermarket parts or the wrong part?

[IMG][/IMG]

In more detail:
The creaking sound was worse on cold mornings and only occurred when turning the steering (i.e. no noise over bumps). It sounded a lot like air the hydraulic system and hence I spent quite some time chasing problems in that area.

I've also been suffering for years with unstable steering - car darts around over bumps - and the steering feels like there is a spring in the linkage. I haven't aligned it properley yet (I've had the back end off as well) but I think I may have cured that as well. It certainly feels better already.

I would recommend removing the alignment pins from the top mounts before fitting as it is so much easier to do before you fit them. If you want to use the holes to set the camber then just put a (6mm?) drill through while you tighten the nuts.

Closer inspection of the old and new mounts shows that the PCD of the three studs is slightly bigger on the old part. It still fits OK, thanks to the slots in the suspension turret, but the new one is definitely as better fit. So is it from different car?

Can't remember the source of the old mouunt - I changed it almost as soon as I bought the car, but the new one is by SKF.
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Old 12-19-2014, 06:55 AM   #2
John949
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: London UK
Posts: 40
My Ride: E330 CI
A little more digging.

The 'wrong' part is made by Febi and has the part number 12 519 620. Checking on Febi's website they claim this fits an E46 'without sports suspension' - guess what mine has! They also quote an equivalent BMW part number and RealOem says this part is not used on an E46. They also list another part for post 11/2003 but again this comes up as not used on an E46. My advice would be to check Febi parts against the originals before fitting.
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Old 12-21-2014, 03:12 AM   #3
generalvp
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 312
My Ride: 2005 BMW 330ci ZHP
I have a similar creaking sound when turning the steering wheel a full turn, either left or right. I can't seem to pinpoint where the sound is coming from but what you described may be the problem. The noise is loudest during the morning mornings when it's the coldest. I recently replaced my entire front suspension and used Febi upper strut mounts as well. I got them from OEMBimmerparts:

http://www.oembimmerparts.com/BMW_Fr...35-943ae46.htm

Are these the ones you're talking about that are not made for our E46? Mine have the sport suspension as well.

Last edited by generalvp; 12-21-2014 at 03:13 AM.
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Old 12-21-2014, 01:39 PM   #4
John949
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: London UK
Posts: 40
My Ride: E330 CI
If you search those part numbers on RealOEM they don't show up as being used on any E46, However it doesn't give a part number for my car - the mount is only shown as part of a repair kit.
It does look like the one that squeaks on my car. Look at the rolled edge of the top plate on the bad one as opposed to the straight edge on the SKF one. I'm afraid the only sure way is to take it apart and look for witness marks. Alternatively you might be able to squirt WD40 onto the top of the spring carrier (but not easy to get to). If that cures it temporarily....
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